January Marie Lapuz

The January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award is an annual award bestowed upon a deserving youth who is 16 to 30 years of age and who has demonstrated involvement, commitment, and leadership in the LGBTQ community whether locally, nationally, and/or internationally.

Applications from groups who also service this age group are welcome.


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No Fear Counselling 

Sher Vancouver acknowledges the generous financial support of  Ofir Vaisman of No Fear Counselling for funding the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award.  No Fear Counselling is a full service counselling firm with multiple locations throughout Metro Vancouver.  Counselling is provided by professional Master’s level counsellors in multiple languages.


Who was January?

January Marie Lapuz was born on April 9, 1986, in Santiago City, Philippines and passed away on September 30, 2012, in New Westminster, B.C.  January was the Social Coordinator of Sher Vancouver.  She was the first transgender person to hold an Executive position within the organization. Being the life of the party, January would make everyone laugh.  She was a kind, caring, generous and loyal friend. January was a great singer and dancer.  She was known as our very own “Beyonce.”

January had many challenges and struggles as an immigrant, as a person of colour, and as a transgender woman living in poverty.  Nonetheless, she was a bright light and shining star in Sher Vancouver.  She was a fabulous MC on our “Pride of Bollywood” float in the Vancouver Pride Parade and the “Bang Bang Bollywood” dance nights.

Not a day goes by that January’s friends don’t think of her.  We miss her and we all know that she is watching over us like an Angel in Heaven.

What is Sher Vancouver?

Sher Vancouver is a social, cultural, and support non-profit organization for LGBTQ South Asians and their friends and families. For more information on Sher Vancouver check out http://shervancouver.com

January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must be 16 to 30 years of age.  Applications from groups who service this age group are also welcome.
  • Applicants must submit a personal statement IN POINT FORM demonstrating their involvement, commitment, and leadership in the LGBTQ community whether locally, nationally, and/or internationally. The personal statement should be no more than 500 words OR ONE PAGE.
  • Applicants who have experienced social adversity in their life have the option of submitting an additional page explaining their circumstances IN POINT FORM. This “optional” page should be no more than 500 words OR ONE PAGE.  The social adversity statement is kept CONFIDENTIAL.
  • Applicants must submit a JPEG image of themselves or a group image.
  • Applicants must submit a short bio of themselves or a group bio. This bio must be no more than 250 words.
  • Applicants can select from submitting a maximum of TWO reference letters, news articles, website links, AND/OR any other third-party information to verify and/or confirm their application.
  • Please note a person of any gender or sexual identity is welcome to submit an application, as well as a person of any race, culture, or background. This includes our “straight” friends and allies. Sher Vancouver is an inclusive organization and strives to not turn anyone away. January was Filipino and Chinese by descent although Sher Vancouver was originally founded as an organization for LGBTQ South Asians.

Deadlines and Selection Criteria

  • December 31 of each year at 12:00 pm noon
  • Winners will be announced in the New Year in January of course.
  • A deserving recipient or group who was not successful in one year will be automatically considered again in following years if they still meet the eligibility criteria.  To guarantee reconsideration the following year applicants can contact Sher Vancouver via email and request to be reconsidered.  They can also submit a new one-page update to add to their application every year to ensure we have current information.
  • A selection committee made up of Sher Vancouver and community members will select the winner based on their involvement, commitment, and leadership in the LGBTQ community. Social adversity will only be considered in helping to select one winner if two people are equally qualified and deserving.

Award Recipient

  • The award recipient will receive a letter of congratulations, official certificate, and a cash prize in Canadian currency donated by Sher Vancouver Founder Alex Sangha, No Fear Counselling, and other donors.

Winner – Gold Award – $1000

1st Runner-Up – Silver Award – $500

2nd Runner-Up – Bronze Award $250

Honourable Mention – $100

  • The award recipient will be profiled on the Sher Vancouver website and blogs and relevant social media with a brief write up of the recipient’s achievements, photo, and bio.
  • A press release will be sent out to the local and national and international media with a brief write up of the recipient’s achievements, photo, and bio.


Complete a cover page with the following information and submit your application in confidence to the email below:


  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Date of Birth of Individual or Group Members
  • Age of Individual or Group Members
  • How did you hear of this award?
  • Please attach the personal statement, social adversity statement, JPEG image of yourself, and biography, as well as third-party confirmation and verification of application.


Please note applicants from outside of Canada must provide their name exactly as it is spelled on their government-issued photo identification in order for Sher Vancouver to send a Western Union money transfer.  Please confirm your name as it’s on your identification.

Applicants from within Canada just need to provide a valid email to accept an email transfer.


Alex Sangha


Sher Vancouver